Italian Library Association and the Public Lending Right

In many European countries, libraries pay a fee to copyright owners based on circulation statistics, in addition to buying the books outright. (And many European countries don’t do this.) This is called the “remuneration principle.” The new policies that come with the European Union are pressuring member states that don’t have this system to start it up (without letting them spend less to buy books in the first place).

Italy is one country that has just introduced a new law that requires libraries to pay these fees, and the Italian Library Association is taking a stand against it (scroll down for the English version) in a statement to EBLIDA (the European organization of library associations).

It is the same fight all over. But I wish it were not conceived of as a fight against globalization, because even though globalization has turned out to be an excuse for privatization and neoliberal policy changes, the two trends can be thought of separately. There is no reason, in principle anyway, that globalization couldn’t bring along with it more socialist policies instead, and happen through the UN instead of the WTO and other organizations driven by a market philosophy. Globalization is problematic for its own reasons, but neoliberal policies are only tied to it by historical accident…

Thanks to Mark Rosenzweig for sharing this with multiple discussion lists.

One comment on “Italian Library Association and the Public Lending Right

  1. I know from my experience there that Sweden has a similar law – a tiny amount of money goes to a general author’s fund each time a Swedish author’s book is borrowed from the library, up to a certain point. The program has been good for poor authors, very popular authors such as Liza Marklund or Henning Mankell really don’t derive any money from it. The Author’s Guild in Sweden has long been one of the staunchest defenders of the public library against neoliberal attacks. If the EU would follow Sweden’s lead, then some kind of law that actually benefits less popular authors without bankrupting public libraries could be worked out. On the other hand, the EU is not about to follow Sweden’s lead on much of anything, given Sweden’s leftist/pragmatic approach to things doesn’t always jive with neoliberal worldview of the EU.

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